Looking into opponents’ activities and strategies is an age-old tactic for gaining insight into what their successes and weaknesses are, then learning how to apply those to your own activities to optimise results. This occurs in sports, politics, and, of course, business. In fact, virtually all successful business firms across industries spend significant resources looking into the competition to gain a competitive edge. Here are four ethical, effective methods for researching competing businesses.
Experience Your Competition
One of the best ways to learn from competition is also the most direct. This is basically just experiencing the competing business as a customer or client would. Many businesses conduct this kind of research internally as well as externally, sending “secret shoppers” to their own stores in the cases of retailers to document the experience and in turn improve the quality of service at the point of sale. The same logic applies here, conducting “field research” into the competitor’s ways and means.
Send Out Comparison Surveys
What do your customers love about your company? What do they love about your competition? Hiring a third party to perform a customer satisfaction survey geared toward people in the market for your products can provide a lot of insight. The shorter version of this is to read the positive and negative reviews of your competition’s products and stores.
Examine Top Success Stories
Many of the top businesses in the world rode to success on the coattails of business trailblazers that came before them. You can gain considerable useful knowledge once you have evaluated top franchised businesses in your area to determine gaps in the market. Evaluate their production, marketing, or administration depending on the type of knowledge you hope to gain. Much of this information is available on the web already, so it’s just a few clicks away.
Social Media Strategies
A huge component of a business’s success in the twenty-first century comes from their online presence. The best part about this aspect of marketing from your perspective it’s that it’s readily available, free to access, and quick to search for. Most businesses have social media accounts, so check out what they are posting and tweeting to get an idea of what content customers respond well to.
Part of succeeding as a business is making sure that you know what your competitors are doing and making decisions accordingly. Employ these methods to gain valuable knowledge from competitors and a bigger market share for your own business.
Image taken by Andrea Piacquadio
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